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Boys Basketball: Defense leads Shawnee to district championship

Mar. 9—FINDLAY — Before fans or other teams noticed it, Trevick Bertke's Shawnee teammates saw it. The 6-6 freshman point guard could play defense.

That skill was on display for all four quarters of Shawnee's 53-45 win over St. Marys in the championship game of the Division II boys basketball district at Liberty-Benton on Saturday night when he made life difficult for the Roughriders' leading scorer, 6-7 senior Evan Angstmann.

That win sent Shawnee (19-6) to the Division II regional tournament at Bowling Green State University, where it will play Shelby (23-2) in a semifinal game on Thursday.

Angstman averaged 21 points per game this season, set a school single-season record for most 3-pointers, and hit as many as nine in a game.

He scored 18 points and went over 1,000 points in his career Saturday night. But Shawnee limited the damage he could do from long range by holding him to two 3-pointers — one in the first quarter and the other in the final 30 seconds of the game.

"He's a tremendous player and an awesome kid. He made nine threes in a game this year. If he gets going like that, you can't beat them," Shawnee coach Mark Triplett said.

"We had to use our length. You have to follow him wherever he is on the floor, make sure you've got a hand on him. Trevick was terrific at doing that, chasing him around and hounding him. He made his shots because he's really good but it didn't come easy for him and that's what we needed."

Shawnee broke out of a 40-40 tie in the final five minutes of the game to earn its trip to the regional.

The Indians ended the game on a 13-5 run, which was powered by defense, Triplett said. "Stops, we got stops. We got critical defensive stops. We used our length and we didn't give them second chances. We finished out possesions and boxed out on rebounds. We made enough plays offensively late,' he said.

"We're 14-2 since the first of the year. We've been in tight battles and big situations and they continue to grind out key stops for us. That's the key— our defensive effort and intensity."

Shawnee scored 10 unanswered points to take the score from 40-40 to 50-40 before St. Marys scored again with a minute left to play.

"Our coach was preaching to us, 'Win these last five minutes, win these last five minutes.' He really put it on us to go battle with them and we ended up coming out with it," said Beckett Bertke, who led Shawnee's scoring with 19 points.

Dominic Lynch, whose 10 rebounds helped Shawnee outrebound St. Marys 33-21, said, "It was just about us. We had to do what we've got to do and trust each other to do it. We knew they had big people down there. We just had to win the rebound battle to win this game."

Trevick Bertke, who scored 11 points, said, "We just really bought in, we wanted to get stops. We really wanted it."

Bertke said the confidence he could defend the leading scorer for other teams began in practice earlier this season.

"About six games in I started guarding the best player. If you ask me, I started locking down our players in practice. I figured if I could do that, I could guard their best player," he said.

Shawnee's other players noticed the same thing, his older brother Beckett said. "Coach was looking for a defensive stopper and we were all like, 'Just go with Trevick. He's our best defender so put him on their best player.' "

Looking at his brother's work against Angstmann he said, "We wanted to limit his (Angstmann's) touches, get a hand in his face, any little thing to throw off his shot. My brother played impeccable defense on him. I was so proud of him for that."

Triplett said, "He (Trevick Bertke) is a force, with his length and athleticism and his toughness and grit. His growth in the back half of the season has been instrumental to our success this season."

Shawnee's success and its district championship have come with a roster populated mostly by newcomers.

"In our head all along we thought that our potential for where we could be at the end of the year was going to be a lot higher than where we were going to be at the Tip-Off Classic," Triplett said.

"We had Beck and Dom coming back as starters and Nick (Pasion) had started some games last year and as a sophomore but the rest of the group was a brand new team. Alex (Goldsberry) didn't even play basketball last year. Tate Bender has stepped up for us all year. Whether we knew it or not, we felt we had the potential to get to this point."

Shawnee 53, St. Marys 45

Score by quarters:

Shawnee 10 17 11 15 — 53

St. Marys 13 10 11 11 — 45

SHAWNEE

Beckett Bertke 19, Dominic Lynch 5, Alex Goldsberry 5, Nick Pasion 8, Trevick Bertke 11, Tate Bender 5. Totals: 17-14-53.

ST. MARYS

Evan Angstmann 18, Jace Turner 13, Noah Payne 7, Cobain Owens 5, Brennan Steger 2. Totals: 18-5-45.

Three-point goals: SH—B. Bertke 3, T. Bertke 2; SM — Angstmann 2, Payne 1, Owens 1.

Records: Shawnee 19-6; St. Marys 18-7.